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Australia Athletics Team of the Year

Tuesday, 27 December 2016 | Anonym



We charged athletics commentator David Culbert with the task of selecting an Australian Athletics Team of the Year.

The rules were as follows:

  • One person per event
  • Could be female or male
  • Could be a para athlete or able bodied
  • Could be junior or senior

Not an easy task but this is what Culbert, who commentated both the Olympics and Paralympics for Channel 7, came up with:

100m:                                      Scott Reardon (ACT)

200m:                                      Ella Nelson (NSW)

400m:                                      Jess Thornton (NSW)

800m:                                      James Turner (NSW)

1500m:                                    Ryan Gregson (NSW)

5000m:                                    Madeline Hills (NSW)

10000m:                                  Eloise Wellings (NSW)

Marathon:                             Kurt Fearnley (NSW)                        Captain

100m/110m hurdles:            Michelle Jenneke (NSW)

400m hurdles:                       Lauren Wells (ACT)

3000m steeplechase:         Genevieve LaCaze (QLD)

High jump:                             Brandon Starc (NSW)

Pole vault:                             Alana Boyd (QLD)

Long jump:                            Brooke Stratton (VIC)

Triple Jump:                          Connor Murphy (NSW)

Shot Put:                                 Damien Birkenhead (VIC)

Discus throw:                        Dani Samuels (NSW)

Javelin:                                  Kathryn Mitchell (VIC)

Hammer:                               Alex Hulley (NSW)

20km walk:                            Dane Bird-Smith (QLD)

50km walk:                            Jared Tallent (VIC)

Multi Event:                           Cedric Dubler (QLD)


“Some events were virtually impossible,” Culbert said.

“Take the long jump – Brayden Davidson wins the Paralympics, Darcy Roper wins bronze at the world under 20’s and Fabrice wins the diamond race, but Brooke Stratton’s national record, world indoor final and 7th in Rio gets it for me,” Culbert said

“Brayden was one of my Olympic and Paralympic highlights. A new PB, Paralympic record and then he gave that great interview where he thanked his grandparents for believing in him.. It was super.”

“What it shows is that the long jumpers are holding the entire Australian athletics scene together.”

“The shot put was tough - Claire Keefer, Louise Ellery, Toddy Hodgetts and Kathryn Proudfoot all won Paralympic bronze. But the Colossus of Corio gets the nod – mainly due to having the best nickname, along with making the Olympic final,” Culbert said.

“The 400m wasn’t easy either.  Morgan Mitchell and Anneliese Rubie both had great seasons and made the Rio semis and 4x400m final. And Angie Ballard won the bronze in the T46 in the Paralympics and broke the world record. But Jess Thornton’s 4th at world under 20’s was excellent, so combined with the Rio final, she gets the spot.”

“Other tough ones were the 1500m and 5000m - Captain Kurt won bronze in the 5000m in Rio but I’ve gone with Maddy Hills.  Kurt finished 4th in the 1500m and Linden Hall made a great breakthrough and reached the Rio semi-finals, but the Little King Gregson just shades him despite never leaving the fence in the Olympic final.”

“I hope Kurt will forgive me…. He did get a spot in the marathon and has been named team captain so I hope so.”

“The triple jump spot goes to a 15-year-old.  Connor Murphy won the Under 16 all-schools with a big PB.  The son of 14-time Australian champion Andrew is named after former AA head coach and Olympic bronze medallist Keith Connor.  But Connor gets the spot mainly for his sensational performance to open the 2016 Athletics in Australia Gala dinner where he delivered the ‘Ode to Athletics’.”

“And finally, it really doesn’t matter what events they are in, they all deserve to be there… our three distance runners Madeline Hills, Gen LaCaze and Eloise Wellings.  They were just fantastic in Rio.  Collectively they made five finals, ran nine season’s bests and six PB’s for five top-10 placings. They created history and thrilled us all.”